It was exactly 30 years ago that Jerry P. Auten conceived the idea of elastomeric coatings for application for various roof substrates. The initial application of these systems was installed on the Winn Dixie Warehouse in Raleigh, North Carolina. The maintenance engineer, Mr. Frank Dorman, who was present at the initial application, recently retired and the plant was subsequently closed during the late 90’s. Until the closing, however, the roof continued to perform even in one of the most hostile roof conditions (the freezer area) of the plant. Mr. Dorman today, while retired, still recommends and uses the Sunlife Roofing SystemsTM.
In its infancy, the President and CEO of Sunlife Systems, Jerry P. Auten was awarded two (2) US patent numbers, 4,212,913 and 4,291,086 for his development of a totally integrated elastomeric roof system.
Why has Sunlife Systems International, Inc. stood the test of time while so many companies utilizing the elastomeric coatings have come and gone?
Mr. Auten explains – to survive in the roofing industry for 30 years with all the various types of membranes and long-term warranties requires several unique approaches. Sunlife Systems limits its application to remedial restorations and has applications designed for all types of built-up, rubber, and metal roofs. The keys to success are as follows:
1. You must know when to say NO! There is no “single cure all” for all roof problems. After 30 years experience we generally know the roofs that qualify for restoration versus those that are borderline or should be removed.
2. You must provide the best product possible to your customers:
The Sunlife product is not only Factory Mutual Class A fire rated, it is formulated to be fire retardant.
The Sunlife product protects metal from rusting and is rust inhibitive. When this feature is combined with Sunlife “Direct to Rust” Primer (DTR) it offers maximum protection to metal surfaces as witnessed by lab and field testing done at the LaQue Corrosion Services, Kure Beach, North Carolina.
The Sunlife coating uses premium ingredients in its formulation (ex. automotive grade TiO2 and four times the normal requirements of zinc oxide). These advantages and others give Sunlife products an extra 10% to 15”% life expectancy over conventional formulations.
Sunlife Roofing Compound has achieved the requirements as set forth in ASTM-D6083 and also meets the EPA Energy Star qualifications. ASTM-D6083 is the most stringent battery of tests in the roofing industry as applies to elastomeric coatings.
3. You must control the application. Since 1981 Sunlife Systems International, Inc. has been directly involved with the application of its roofing systems. Sunlife not only manufactures its products, but also uses its own employees to apply the materials. There are very few companies that have not experienced conflicts between suppliers and applicators especially where long-term warranties are involved. Sunlife has eliminated these problems by being a single source supplier for both manufacturing and application.
Sunlife does not subcontract its labor for application.
4. You should always use caution when considering long-term warranties. Many newer companies are offering extended warranties that seem “too good to be true” and in most instances they can be deceptive. Remember, a warranty is no better than the company issuing this piece of paper. Do yourself a favor; get referrals from companies that have successful field applications that are equal to the length of any warranty. Be sure of who is responsible for the life of the warranty: the manufacturer, applicator or a combination of both.
5. When considering coating metal roofs extra care should be taken to insure that the best coating available is chosen. If the wrong coating is selected, the problems that are being corrected could actually be substantially increased.
In most cases ‘alkyd” based aluminums and asphalts will over time pose major problems when applied over metal roofs. These coatings usually become hard and brittle over a relatively short period of time. When used over a comparatively thin metal roof surface that is subject to thermal expansion and contraction, wind, and foot traffic the probability of “peeling” becomes acute. There are no coatings that are designed to be applied over a peeling substrate.
These products also allow, “undercutting” on any surface where rusting has previously occurred. When selecting a metal roof coating, only top quality 100% acrylic coatings should be considered.
6. When purchasing coatings from a distributor, keep in mind that pricing is normally the primary factor to be considered when choosing which materials to carry in inventory.
It is quite easy to modify acrylic formulations with cheaper P. V. A.’s, styrene, etc., to substantially reduce bottom line costs. Depending upon the percentage of the blending, costs can be reduced by as much as 50% - 60%. Unfortunately the longevity of the coating is normally reduced proportionally. Consider using the ASTM D6083 standard as a minimum requirement since inferior products cannot pass the tests necessary to achieve approval.
In many cases the lowest priced products are used on metal roof surfaces. Invariably these quickly become the most expensive because of short life expectancy. NEVER BUY ON PRICE ALONE!
The best recommendation that we could make to a customer is…”Never wait until your roof is having major problems”. Always prepare to maintain any roof surface whether it is built up, rubber, or metal by understanding the life cycle of any roof and planning for a restoration rather than a replacement as the roof ages.
Thirty years of experience gives Sunlife the knowledge and confidence to assure any customer as to the viability of a repair system over their existing roof substrate. Sunlife has many customers that have over 20 years exposure, with many roofs now being recoated and the existing warranties extended into the 15 – 20 year range.
For information about the Sunlife Roofing SystemsTM contact them at 1-800-328-5885 or write to Sunlife Systems International, Inc. PO Box 12308, Charlotte, NC 28220.
About the Author – Jerry P. Auten is the originator and CEO of Sunlife Systems International, Inc. The manufacturing plant is located at 5301 Nations Crossing Road, Charlotte, N. C. There are field offices throughout the United States and The Caribbean.
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